Evacuees Make the Panhandle Their Temporary Home

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - As Irma prepares to make landfall on the southern part of Florida, some people are leaving their homes and escaping to the Panhandle. Those fortunate have found safety and shelter at hotels here in Bay County.

"It gives you anxiety. You know, you think... to tell you the truth, I kind of want to cry right now. Makes you think about what you're going to go back to," said Noemi, a resident of Apollo Beach, FL.

As Irma prepares to make landfall, Florida residents prepare for the worst. Evacuees from all over the state gathered only their most important belongings...pets, official documents and some clothing. Only the essentials knowing there's a possibility of going back to devastation.

"I listened to one of the residents from Texas after what they went through nd he said It's just stuff. So you have to look at it that way, it's just stuff," said Cathy, a St. Petersburg, FL Resident.

While leaving behind almost everything was a difficult decision, those who have made temporary home at hotels in Bay County believe it's the right choice. "I made the right decision and I feel bad for my family and friends that didn't leave," said Noemi. 

Other evacuees who have been through these bad storms say whatever happens, happens. "I'm not too worried, but if we lose the house we have insurance. That's all I can tell you, it's all boarded up so it's ready for it," said Robert Knuutila, a Rockledge, FL Resident.

Residents who left for Irma, hope they return to their homes still fully in-tact after the storm. Many hotels in the Bay County area are full this weekend. Hotel officials say most of their reservations are from the South Florida area with a few coming from Central Florida.


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